Thursday, July 29, 2010

Under Control

My mom actually managed to snap a picture of the travelling circus as we came out of the airport.

Through past traveling experience I actually have a system down pat where I can manage it all by myself. Security of course is always an adventure first because of the narrow aisles to be navigated, and then because absolutely everything must go through the belt including the kids shoes, toys, and the stroller without them in it. Bathroom pit stops are another fun challenge due to the cramped quarters and narrow entry ways often involving hair pin turns and other passengers who fail to realize that the travelling circus is coming and thus comprehend that whichever way we are going is by necessity now a one way street. We also often find that the bathrooms won't accomodate the double stroller much less the luggage that you are frequently extorted to remember not to let out of our your sight.

At least on this trip both the security personnel and airline staff were patient, friendly, and helpful getting us and our train of belongings through the process and settled on the plane.


You can't imagine what a human freak show we are traveling in all our glory. Between the stroller, the car seat, the bags, and the bags, and of course the boys themselves we are quite a sight to see. I managed to navigate the airport without losing anyone, or anything despite a close call with our luggage. The boys were perfect angels on the flight much to my relief. An extra blessing given that we sat on the runway for almost an hour before actually being cleared for take-off.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A change

My grandfather's health took a turn for the worse and he was moved to Hospice House this past weekend.

He came out to visit in April of this year. It was his first trip out here since before the boys (now 2 and 1/2) were born. His Alzheimers had been getting progressively worse preventing them from traveling. While he was here he was in great spirits and though a little off balance from time to time was in great shape for someone who was 88. Before the trip he still visited the gym 3 times a week doing cardio and weights. In early May after they returned home my grandfather caught some kind of bug and ended up with pneumonia. It would turn out to be the first in a series of health issues that would land him in the hospital over the coming months. In June he suffered from what we now know was a stroke where he lost mobility in his right side. He had all the classic signs of a stroke, but the various tests showed no evidence of a stroke. I went out and spent a week without the kids visiting with him and the rest of my family. And then over the coming weeks would go back out again first with Ryan, and then with Connor after his second stroke left him paralyzed a couple of weeks ago. Though it was tough to see him like that I am thankful that we got to spend a little more time with him and the delight on his face at seeing us was apparent.

With the latest turn of events I have debated whether or not we should go back out. I finally made up my mind today and booked flights for us to go.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


One of Connor's teeth is an odd yellowish color. It came in that way, and it has never seemed to bother him, but I thought we should probably visit the dentist to make sure that it was okay. Our pediatrician recommended a pediatric dentist and we made an appointment to go in.

Turns out the tooth has malformed enamel, nothing to be fixed, just something we will need to keep an eye on. The dentist was great with him. He got down in the floor and took a look at his teeth while Connor read a book. He was patient and gentle and it was over before we knew it.

The only picture I managed to remember to take was while we were in the waiting room as Connor played and I filled out paperwork. Luckily the dentist's assistant did a better job and snapped a picture to send home with us as a memento of his first visit. ;) Hopefully someday I will remember where I put it...

Monday, July 26, 2010


Who says you can't have your cake and eat it, too?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Party

The pool house was an absolutely perfect venue for the party. There was ample room for everyone and the AC was a welcome relief from the summer heat. Not to mention the conveniently located lake, with boat launch, park playground, and of course the pool itself. There was something for everyone.

The only thing Kevin could say about the decorations was that they were "black." Ummm... Yeah??? :) Oh, that, and "when did you have time to do this?"

He was even a good enough sport to wear the hat. Though Connor was clearly more taken with it than Kevin. I wasn't sure he was going to give it up. :)

My little fish was also the first one to settle into one of the kayaks. He was ready to hit the water the second we mentioned taking a boat out.

Several folks spent time out on the lake in one of the canoes or kayaks.
Including the boys who got to go on their first canoe ride. Connor absolutely loved it. Only the lure of the swimming pool caused him to wrench his little fingers off the bar and set foot on dry land again. Ryan enjoyed it for a while, then was ready to see what else was going on.

Cameron had a blast in the kayaks.

Several of the children played at the park while waiting for others to return with boats or for the pool to reopen after some thunder off in the distance. Coincidentally the last big birthday party we had for Kevin also included a trip to our neighborhood pool before the festivities got started at our house and we were kicked out of the pool just minutes after arriving as the pool was closed due to the thunder then, too.

When the pool finally re-opened we had the entire place to ourselves. The kids had a great time in the pool.

Everyone was having so much fun in the pool we stayed far longer than I had intended. We did eventually drag ourselves out of the pool and back inside to enjoy some cake and open presents.

Uncle Randy taught the boys how to blow their party horns.

As we were opening presents a massive storm blew in with pouring rain and a constant stream of lightening and thunder directly overhead. Luckily we had enough warning to get most everything inside before it really hit. Though several of the guys and I got drenched getting the canoes back in the boat house and loading up our kayaks. Good thing we were still in our swimsuits and had plenty of towels on hand.

While we were working on loading up the boats everyone pitched in to clean-up and help us pack up everything so that by the time we finally called it a night there was very little left for us to do. A real blessing given that it was already 10:30 - well past the boys' bedtime and Kevin had an early flight out to China first thing in the morning.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Over the Hill

I spent the evening wrapping up some of the loose ends before the birthday party. One of which was decorating. Natalie and I had the decorations (except for the balloons that we just aren't going to talk about) up in no time at all.

I was really pleased with how it all turned out.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy 40th Birthday

It was Kevin's 40th Birthday. Though we will celebrate with a party this weekend I wanted to pick up a little treat for him to enjoy when he got home from his fishing trip.

The boys were still up when he got home so they eagerly helped him polish it off.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My precious angel

Connor took a nap with me at Grannie's house. He snuggled up between me and my pillow and much to my surprise dozed off. He opened his eyes for half a second as he rolled with me as I tried to sneak out of bed to finish packing, but re-settled and went back to sleep in the big bed all by himself.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In Spirit

The boys had both been complaining about their hair being down in their eyes so we hit the barber shop last night and got them both a haircut. I wanted to snap a few pictures to show my family and Ryan wanted no part of it. He gave me the eye every time I even casually waved the lens in his general direction.

But the second I asked him if I could get a picture of him to show Grannie he perked right up and smiled.


Saturday, July 17, 2010


Let me just start out by saying that we live in the suburbs. It's a neighborhood with thousands of homes. For the most part one on top of another. It was once a farm and thus was mostly open fields and pastures. But it's been civilization and suburbia for over a decade. So I never cease to be amazed when new critters show up around the house.

The boys spotted this guy climbing down out of our pine tree onto the back fence this morning. He was a bit camera shy and bolted down the length of the fence the second I stepped outside with the camera.

Friday, July 16, 2010

So ugly it's cute?

My kitchen frog. He hides in the kitchen window behind the sink. He never ceases to make me smile.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A walk

We took a leisurely stroll around the block tonight. The boys and the dog whom they are terrified of. It actually went better than I expected. It was actually relaxing after we got over that whole terror part. He held my hand and trooped along. Ryan hung back to see if Connor was going to be an appetizer. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


To infinity and beyond!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Finger Lickin' Good

Yeah, more domesticity. :) But I just couldn't believe how delicious these turned out. There were some great deals on Pork Ribs this week and I decided to pick some up and give them a try in the pressure cooker. So I seasoned them up.

Then I browned them up in a little oil, and then dropped them into the pressure cooker with a coke and homemade BBQ sauce. 20 minutes later when I forced the steam out of the cooker they were falling off the bones tender. I layed them out on a baking sheet, brushed them with more of the yummy BBQ sauce and broiled them for a few minutes to crisp up the skin.

They came out absolutely gorgeous. And delicious.

So much so that we devoured every single one. And I had to go to the store and get more.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Waffle Maker

I have wanted a waffle maker for a while now. But I needed it about as much as I NEEDED that 4th, 6th, or 8th set of dishes, too. Kitchen stuff is clearly my downfall. Well, that and bedding because you can almost never have too many sheets and comforters, right?

Anyways, back to the waffler maker. After watching a rare edition of Martha Stewart (my 3rd ever) where she made waffles it was back to the top of my wish list. I had this vision of the kids excitedly sitting around making their own waffles and eagerly waiting for them to come out just perfect. Ready to be smothered in fruit and topped with whip cream, or slathered with butter and drown with maple syrup. I am sure sunshine shone in the windows and there must have been birds chirping in there somewhere, too.

So I had finally decided to splurge and grabbed a bed bath and beyond coupon and was headed to pick one up. We ended up by Sams with Kevin looking for a DVD and while entertaining the kids by running them all over the store I happened upon the waffle maker. Not just any waffle maker mind you. But a DOUBLE waffle maker just like the one I was going to get. Talk about an omen. My eyes lit up and it was in the basket in a split second.

And maybe it was the rose colored glasses, but when I made waffles the next morning it was a lot like that vision. Kevin took the kids for a bike ride and when they came back I had just popped my first set of waffles out of the waffler maker. I was excited. The kids were excited. And Kevin, well he wanted a shower. :) I was like a kid in the candy store. I couldn't wait to taste them. True to the recipe they were light and airy. The secret is apparently in whipping the egg whites.

We will definitely be making them again. Often. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Monkey Bread

I am on a cooking/baking kick of late. Made my favorite pulled pork on Friday. Didn't get a single picture of it. :) I was too excited to get it into the oven and cooking in the morning. And when it was done I started pulling and taste testing before it even hit the counter. So by the time I even thought of a picture it was already picked clean to the bones and shredded onto multiple plates - one for the kids with no extra seasoning, one for me with extra rub and a generous helping of brown sugar, and one for Kevin with extra rub, and some spicy pan drippings.

Today I made monkey bread for 2nd breakfast.

Made it in my favorite heart bundt pan. After eying the pan skeptically I used 2/3rds of what the recipe called for and it still streamed over the edge of the pan onto the bottom of my oven where it burnt like crazy and gave my house a wonderfully awful smell just before the appliance repairman got here.

And the bottom? That's where I started the taste testing, again. :) And it was yummy, but very, very sweet. Connor devoured his and begged for "More candy!!", Ryan ate a few bites made a disgusted look and proclaimed it too sweet. Kevin snuck thirds while I was at the store.

Ready to Luau

It was Luau day at school today.

I love that smile. Especially that shadow of a dimple. It is just like mine.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Two Little Monkeys

Two little monkeys sitting upstairs.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My new toy

My new toy:

No I didn't buy a new camera, or a new lens. I got a camera strap. And not just any camera strap - one with a lens pocket. I was so excited! Finally a place to put the cap when I take it off where it won't collect lint in my pocket or who knows what where ever else I drop it. Only to realize that that in my haste and impatience [sigh] I should have measured my lens caps because the only one that is going to fit is my 50mm which I pretty much only shoot with in the house where the whole lint thing isn't such a big deal - I can drop it on any of the million surfaces around the house. Ah, well at least it's cute. Love those polka dots.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This is WAR.

They have gone too far.

This is WAR.
I am both fascinated and revolted watching them gobble up the poision. I am astounded at their sheer numbers and persistance. But most of all I am anxious. I am waiting with baited breath to see if this, this one, will finally work. Because above all - I WANT THEM GONE.

Fabulous French Toast

How good was it?

So good that he ate every.single.bite before he even touched his "strawbabies."

So good that he asked for seconds. Of french toast. The delicious, perfectly ripe, mouth watering "strawbabies" totally forgotten.
It was that good.

Monday, July 5, 2010

All decked out

The boys all decked out in the 4th of July swimsuits. Daddy has a blue shirt, too. It was just dirty.

And while I didn't notice it at the time, yes, Ryan's swim trunks are on backwards. Great job, Daddy. Luckily I was the one who put on his swim diaper and put him back into them before we went swimming so they did get turned around and put back on the right way before we got into the pool.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Watching the Rain

It rained almost all day today, though mostly in spurts. There would be torrential down pours followed by 30 minutes where the only rain would be the remnants dripping out of the trees.

I love the rain, or more accurately the storms. I can often be found sitting out in my rocking chair on the front porch watching the lightening and the rain during a good storm. The boys came out with me today. Connor sat in my lap and we rocked and watched a particularly long shower as it passed by waiting for Ryan and Daddy to come home from the store. When Ryan got home he joined us preferring to stand at the edge of the patio watching the rain drip out of the crepe myrtles and feel the spray as the drops hit the concrete and the breeze whipped the mist up onto the porch.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Movie Fest

For the record, with this afternoon's movie fest I have exceeded my quota for movies for the year, and doubled, or maybe even triped the number of movies I typically see annually. :)

One of the few perks of work aside from employment and a paycheck is that we typically get off work a few hours early before holidays. In the hopes that this just might be one of those times I had talked Kevin into going to see a movie. I guess this must be what they mean when they talk about Summer Blockbusters because there were at least 4 movies at the theater that I wanted to see. I had talked Kevin into seeing The Last Airbender and while talking to a coworker about seeing the movie later in the afternoon she said she wanted to see Twilight: Eclipse, but that her husband didn't want to go. It took us about 2 seconds to look up movie show times, decide we were going, grab our keys and head out the door.
I hadn't see any of the Twilight movies, before and frankly just didn't understand what the Twilight hype was all about. However, after seeing the movie I think I am a convert. I am either going to have to pick up the book or the first two movies, or maybe both. :)

Friday, July 2, 2010


Some of the boy's art from school.

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